It seems as if a mom’s list is never done:
- Fold and put away the laundry
- Schedule that appointment
- Plan the menu for the week
- Get online and pay the bills
- Sew Mr. Bunny’s ear back on, and more.
There are always things you add, often faster than you cross things off. They are important things– items that keep your family running, keep you organized at work, and hopefully make day to day life a bit easier. However, I have found that one of the most important things that mothers should do always seems to escape that list.
What is that thing? Take time for yourself.
Self-care has always been difficult for me to implement in my life.
I often hesitate to buy items for myself because I can think of 100 other things that need to be replaced or bought for the household, my children, or my husband. Taking time for myself is even more difficult. There are always things that I need to do, like that next load of laundry, or that birthday gift I need to order. Then someone needs attention, like the kids or the poor, neglected cats.
When you throw in a very time-consuming, human services-oriented job, I get drained and burn out very quickly. I felt overwhelmed with everything and everyone. So, I started a tradition for myself and take a “mama day” about once every two to three months.A “mama day” tradition is life changing.
It’s a day that I plan in advance. I take the day off work. But, I make sure that my husband will be at work that day, and the boys still go to daycare and school. I handle drop-off like usual and then head home to relax for the next 8 hours. I purposely do not do any housework–no correspondence, no shopping. Instead, I usually park myself on my couch and play a game on the computer while simultaneously watching a show in peace on the TV. A nap happens if the mood strikes; sometimes I craft, sometimes I read. But the whole point is that I do what relaxes and recharges me.
The first few times that I did this, I felt super guilty. There were plenty of things that I could have done for my home or family during those 8 hours. But the point of the day is to not get caught up in doing what I was already doing on a daily basis. Instead, I focus purely on myself for 8 hours. After the guilt subsided, I found myself so relaxed and recharged. It made tackling the to-do lists less daunting, and work felt less stressful. I was able to focus on the needs of my family without feeling tired or resentful, like I was being put last again.
This “mama day” is a tradition that I have talked several friends into doing and they said that it has made such a huge difference on their mental health and outlook. It’s something I encourage all mothers and caretakers to do. It’s okay to take time for yourself; it’s okay to do what makes you happy for one 8 hours day every few months. I promise.
The housework will still be there, the family will survive, and they will have a happier mama for it.
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